Company news: Waggener, Cancer drugs come up short

PR and marketing firm Waggener Edstrom has taken over Munich-based Patzer PR. The new asset is one of Germany's top 15 healthcare communications agencies, according to Waggener, which will continue to use the Patzer PR brand name in the near future, but will ultimately be folded into the Waggener brand. The company said in a statement that this latest acquisition is part of a larger global push, which has also included a combination of purchases and increasing its partner role in agencies in Australia, India, Korea and South Africa. “This acquisition is a natural progression for our Munich office and global healthcare practice,” CEO Melissa Waggener Zorkin said in a statement.

Despite an “amazing discoveries” vibe at the American Society of Clinical Oncology conference, a recent poll by research group MDLinx showed that shortages were keeping 90% of polled oncologists from getting key medications. This is an increase from a third quarter poll in 2011 that showed 67% of polled oncologists said they were struggling to get medications. Doxorubicin, which is used to treat bladder, breast and lung cancers was among the hardest to get, followed by cytarabine, which is used to treat leukemia and methotrexate, which is used for some head and neck cancers. According to Reuters, the drug shortage situation has gotten so bad that Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit takes a daily inventory. In October, President Obama ordered drug companies to announce expected shortages. The FDA has been used these warnings to convince others to step in, reported Reuters, who noted the FDA says such signals and cajoling has prevented shortages of 128 drugs in the last six months.